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    Snow puddles

    Yesterday’s snowfall was significant, not because it amounted to anything, but because it hadn’t happened in so long. This was the first real snowstorm of 2014, and there wasn’t much in December either. I walked the dogs to the ditch in the evening to see how the place looked with a dusting of white, but it had already melted to mud. Sticky mud. I scoured the ground for remnant flakes, and instead found little green leaves sprouting out of the ground. I am not sure what this plant is, yet, but I growled at it. Winter is a time for complaining, you see. When it’s cold, I complain about the…

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    Dry drainages

    My journey to the top of the ditch watershed turned out to be more of a hike than a walk; the mini-mountains on the map were larger than they appeared. It was a nice hike though, on an uncharacteristically warm January afternoon, through dramatic scenery. The drainage was dry, all of the way to the top. Light patches of snow remained along the western side, below the ridgetop. The east side of the drainage was not as thickly vegetated – has a fire burned here? The plants on the hills were brown and crunchy, thirsty for an absent dose of winter moisture. Long shadows began to dip down from the…

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    The Ditch watershed.

    I have not yet been able to find a map that shows the name of “ditch creek”, but you can see it on the 1967 USGS topo map, below. I have outlined the watershed boundary in red. The ditch watershed’s highest point is at about 5810 feet, on the slope of Peavine Peak. Maybe tomorrow I will hike up to this. The water that flows through ditch creek comes from two tributary streams, which come to a confluence somewhere on the ditch property. This map was drawn before McCarran Boulevard was constructed, making it difficult to determine which side of the highway the confluence is on. From this map you…

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    The stream.

    The ditch, on New Year’s Day, was not dry at all. The sun was shining, the air was warm, and snow along the stream banks melted to mud, caking to the bottom of our shoes. As we walked, we grew taller. Brian and I kicked the mud off; the dogs brought it home between their toes. A stream runs down the center of the property, trickling through a dense thicket of coyote willow. This unnamed stream drains down from the southeastern side of Peavine Peak. I’m not sure whether it flows year-round, but the drainage basin must be large enough to give it some flood potential because someone, at some…

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    The ditch.

    There’s an open area close to our house that Brian calls “the ditch”. We walk the dogs there so they can run off-leash. They like to blast around through the sagebrush and chase birds. I’m not sure what other people call this place, but it’s sort of an abandoned (or preserved) wild space surrounded on three sides by neighborhoods, and on the fourth by McCarran Boulevard. A few trails traverse the length of it, crossing berms and disturbed areas and culminating at a high point that looks out over the flood control basin and Northwest Reno. The ditch seems like an interesting subject for a blog because I don’t know…